When Mountain Lions Are Neighbors: People and Wildlife Working It Out in California
By: Beth Pratt-Bergstrom
Publisher: Heyday Books/The National Wildlife Federation
Publication Date: August 2016
Reviewed by: Amy Lignor
Like most people, when the state of California is mentioned, the wildlife that lives there is not the first thing that comes to mind—movie stars or the horrific Los Angeles driving still reign supreme. However, upon reading this book, people will become completely engrossed and enamored by the animals that exist in California and their own personal stories.
That is exactly what this amazing work is all about: a compendium of wildlife stories that captured the imagination of this particular author. And what the writer so expertly does here, is show the absolute fact that human beings and animals can co-exist and do it very well.
Horror stories are always spoken about when it comes to animals losing their lives and sometimes entire species being annihilated because of human error or stupidity. Here, a Mountain Lion (later dubbed P-22) moves into the L.A. area after leaving Topanga State Park in the Santa Monica Mountains. Some scientists simply stated that this particular animal headed into the city because he wanted to avoid other cougars and get food for his stomach. But for this author, as well as this reader, that explanation isn’t enough. Animals are intelligent; a cougar doesn’t just say to himself: “I think I’ll head down the 101,” god help him, “and catch me some deer.”
P-22 does take on the freeway and ends up heading to Griffith Park. This extremely small area for a mountain lion to live and hunt is only two miles from the Hollywood Walk of Fame and boasts more visitors than Yellowstone. Yes, there are those who definitely don’t want to become tangled up with a mountain lion. But, Californians have welcomed P-22, and people are working hard to create the largest wildlife crossing in the world set in one of the largest urban areas in the country. Learning about P-22, his trip, his acceptance, and what the future may bring because of his journey makes for a thrilling read.
But that’s not all. To further show coexistence between animals and humans, the author offers up a tale full of ‘heart’ set in San Francisco, where the Harbor Porpoise has returned. From the Monarch butterflies being saved to the tale of the Urban Coyote, each story is completely factual and should be learned by everyone. The Marines being called in for the Desert Tortoise. The heart-wrenching story of starving sea lion pups that are now cared for by the Marine Mammal Center in Sausalito. And the list goes on...
The National Wildlife Federation’s Beth Pratt-Bergstrom should be extremely proud of this work. Because of her stunning words, emotions and intelligence, people will find themselves feeling exhilarated after reading all about these various creatures, and learning of the awesome work Californians are doing to make sure that these animal species’ stay alive and well.
Quill says: Filled with unforgettable stories that will spark the desire to help, this is the wildlife book everyone needs to read. Bravo!